A future great industrialist was born 1878 in the Danish
town of Naskov. He was baptized to Jörgen Skafte Rasmussen.
His father was a boat captain, Hans Peder Rasmussen and
mother Maren Johanna Skafte. His father died during Jörgen's
early years. His mother died when he was 19 years old and he
moved to his half-sister in Byköping where he got work at a
local village black smith.
Jörgen Skafte moved 1898 to Germany in order to study. He
started at High School in Mittweida, but he had to leave
school after 2 years, as he evidently had behaved
unsuitable. He then started at the university of Zwickau
where he completed his studies and examined 1902.
1904 his first company was established. Rasmussen & Ernst in
Chemnitz. Here he produced different utility stuffs. After 2 years he
moved to Zschopau. Here he had bought an old mill in which earlier
textiles were made. This city is situated in a wool district that's why
it became a textile mill.
After WWI Jörgen came i contact with Hugo Ruppe. He was very good
engineer wich already in the 1920 th experimented with two stroke
engines. His inventions were always before in time and as he was a bad
business man he always failed with what he did.
Except with Rasmussen's engine....
After WWI Hugo started to work with Jörgen Rasmusen in Zschopau. He
developed a small engine to be used as a help engine for bikes. It was
called "Das Kleine Wunder", but told in ads as "Des Knaben Wunsch".
Rasmussen took care of this and informed about the engine on
the market. 10000 were sold. Despite this success Huga Ruppe ended his
work and moved to Berlin and started a new company, with
ideas which also were before in time. Together with his sons he produced
Ruppe died poor and forgotten 1949.
Piccolo på museet i Ziegenhagen Tyskland. Ref. 1
His main inventions should although generate several companies which
made good business with help engines over whole of Europe. For ex.
ILO, NV, Huskvarna, Zündapp, Puch and others. Not to forget DKW.
With this engine Rasmussen did success and sold in the beginning of
1920 more than 30000 engines. These were produced in his earlier bought
"Textile mill" in Zschopau. 1928 he was the largest deliverer of
motorcycles in the world.
Jörgen Skafte now earned lots of money. He invested in development of
a car. The first trials with this failed when the engine which was
mounted on the right side and put power for wheels through a chain
didn't have enough with power. During this trial period he had contact
with a small electrical cycle car producer,
Slaby & Behringer. This car was bought by Rasmussen and equipped
with his 2
engine in order to be the next sale. He got a large order from Japan.
The engine was developed and became water cooled and volume was raised
to 500 cc. His cycle car got traction on rear wheels, equipped with
wooden body imitated leather and sold as DKW P15.
Slaby Behringer with test car and 2-stroke engines. Ref. 55
The half timbered house in Zschopau was not big enough for the
production of this car. With his money Rasumssen could now buy the share
majority in Audi works. Audi had economy problems. At the same time he
had bought a license from the famous WWI fighter ess Eddie Rickenbacker
in USA. It was about a 6 cylinder engine, which was aimed to be used in
Audi cars. Anyway it was only
Wanderer equipped with 6 cyl engine constructed by Ferd.
Porsche. Ref. 1
in Wanderer cars. Here we have a historical accident when other sources
say that Porsche constructed this engine and I don't know the
May be Porsche developed the Rickenbacker engine.
Rickenbacker produced in the beginning small car on license
by Austin Seven.
1929 Rasmussens car drove Monte Carlo
rally with a 600 cc engine. Following year Rassmussen's car
set 12 international record for sport cars.
1930 the design was changed and the car got front wheel drive and at
the same time was DKW the most sold car in Germany.
Hugo Ruppe had during his time in Berlin made research in 2 stroke
engines which were equipped with compressor cylinders. With this
development V4 engines were made with 2 cylinders pressing air like a
compressor inside the crank house and 2 were working cylinders. This
system lost much power The power raise was not acceptable. This type of
engine was mounted in DKW Schwebeklasse. It had also rear wheel drive.
In the same time "Der Kleine Wunder" was developed with the help of
engineer Adolf Schnuerle's principle that cylinder ports had to be put
on the same side. The petroleum gas went through the crank house with
the help of crankshaft rotation. In this way there became better filling
of the petroleum air mixture. Furthermore there was no need to provide
the piston top with a steering.
Sorry to say that the depression hit hard summer 1932 against
Rasmussen's investments and Saxony Regional/Stat Bank, which financed
all Rasmussen's development projects, hit their brakes. An economical
improvement must come.
The solution was a merging of Audiwerke, Horchwerke,
Wanderer car production and Rasmussen's Zschopauwerke/DKW
was the reslt. This became Audi Union AG and it had their
head office in Chemnitz. It is at this time the four rings
occur. This mark symbolize the four car badges.
The reorganization demanded that Rasmussen
had to be removed and due to different opinions he resigned
from the board. 1934.
1938 Rasmussen got through a decision from Nazi government
Franz Gürtner a compensation of 1.3 million Reichmarks. This is in today
value 5.3 million Euro. This money became worthless when war ended. It
is to be supposed that West Germany later replaced him.
Jörgen Skafte moved to Potsdam near Berlin where he bought a
property. In this place he lived up to 1945, when he escaped to
Flensburg and then 1948 moved to Hareskovby in Denmark. In this place he
started a production of a motorcycle with Villiers engine and badge it
to DISA. This name is read Danish Industry Syndikat A/S.
At the age of 75 he moved to Copenhagen. Jörgen Skafte
Rasmussen died 1964 and left 3 children, one daughter and 2
sons. His fourth son had died in a Russian internment camp
The new company Audi Union AG became soon the next biggest
car company i Germany after Opel.
But the war was close and all civilian production ceased 1942. At
that time Audi Union had produced 250000 DKW cars.
After the war the Russian occupation power removed the Zschopau and
Zwickau factories in order to move them to Russia. Arresting of
civilians after the war and many were brought to trial and sentenced to
death for war crimes.
The conductive layer succeeded to escape to West Germany where
Volkswagen used them to open the new DKW factory in the city of
Ingolstadt Bayern. This became the new Auto Union
(note t in Auto) factory. The factory
in Zwickau became production center for Trabant and Zschopau became the
place for MZ motorcycles.
Trabant death was the fall of the wall
1989-1991. MZ ceased 2008 and the old Rasmussen textile mill
became a night club and got the name MZ-Werk.